Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yard Impaired

Did I ever tell you about the time I got out of a summer job, and got Mark into one? I think it was 1989. I was doing yard and garden work for a local woman. It was a good experience for me, but I didn't last all summer (in fact, I didn't last a month). I'm not ready to call it laziness--but I definitely could not handle this woman's criticism. This woman and her husband owned a nursery and were probably in their 70s then (maybe 80s). The owner had been an agriculture teacher at the high school and college levels, and he had since built up a very successful nursery business on his property. I loved working outdoors and knew I had a lot to learn, but I found it difficult to measure up to her expectations. One time their grown son (disabled in some way, not sure exactly what it is but he's a very friendly fellow) had a seizure in the front yard. I was push-mowing the lawn (they had ACRES of property, but they refused to "ruin it" with a riding lawn tractor) and she told me to "just mow right around him; he's okay." That was weird, let me tell you.

So how did I get Mark into that summer job? Well, about a week after the just-mow-around-him incident, I planted tomatoes in her backyard garden. (Not the nursery; her own personal garden.) I'll never forget when she told me that I had planted the tomatoes incorrectly. I don't remember what exactly I did wrong, but I do remember that it was ridiculous and I was required to stay there an extra couple of hours to get the job done "right", without pay. That was my last day of employment for this woman. That night I cried on my boyfriend's shoulder and suggested that maybe he would like to work for her husband, as it looked like they needed some more nursery help. I thought it might "soften the blow" a bit when I told her that I wasn't cut out for doing her yard work. Turns out Mark was given the nursery job and put to work that very day! And he worked for minimum wage, six summers in a row. Hard work, back-breaking work. Lifting rocks, building walls, digging post holes, putting in edging, transplanting trees, etc.

The family was a bit quirky to work for, but Mark admired his boss' work ethic and funny mannerisms. And he loved working outdoors, sweating day after day in the hot summer sun, just as he had on the family farm. It was hard, honest work, and the upside is that Mark can now shape our yard and anyone else's yard into a thing of beauty, like this.

Last week Mark and I were given a wonderful swing by my brother and his wife. There was no room for it in the backyard, so Mark made a spot for it, leveling off the dirt and adding another sidewalk area. It turned out fabulous! I love it for reading in the early mornings.

This is one of those rare times when Mark sits down for a few minutes. He's always apologizing when he isn't working. Drives me I EVER initiate a work project, dear? (Remember, I am the one who can't plant tomato plants correctly! K.I.S.S. is my motto for just about everything!!)

Another yard project that went down last week was the cleaning out and repositioning of the railroad ties that border the playground area. We've tried to keep the sand weeded for years, but without much luck. So Mark shoveled out a lot of the weeds, used the tractor to clean out the rest, and had a truck load of sand delivered. The kids love it because it's great packing sand...the parents hate it because somehow, we received a big pile of orange stain. Sigh. (I sound like such a boring parent!!)

Speaking of yard work, do you think this would take a little time to keep up??

For our anniversary, Mark and I managed to sneak away for a few hours and enjoy dinner at a supper club (or was it supper at a dinner club?), followed by a stroll through the Dubuque Arboretum.

The gardens there were magnificent. The kids and I had been there in late March, so it was neat to see how everything had grown up.

I'm thinking, 'Man those hostas are HUGE!' Mark is thinking, 'I wonder if I can build a gazebo like this out of barnboard?'

Little storybook garden area for "The Three Billygoats Gruff". Cute, cute, cute!

Mark said it was time for him to get out of the pictures and me to get in one. I disagree!!!

We usually don't exchange gifts, so Mark surprised me with a lovely copper-toned watch and this delicate crystal bell. Did you know crystal is the gift for 15th anniversaries? Me neither!

Except for the Cold Stone Overdose, it was a really fun night out! Thanks for bailing me out of that summer job, Mark...and thanks for not giving up on this yard-impaired girl!

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.--Isaiah 40:8 ESV


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home